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State Historical Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 600 E. Locust St., Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone Number:
+1 515-281-5111

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 126 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 74
  • 31
    Very good
  • 14
  • 2
  • 4
Must See ... and Free!

I've been to a lot of state historical museums, but this one has to be one of the best ever. Spread out over three floors, the exhibits are broad in scope, detailed for the... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
Omaha, Nebraska
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126 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 125: English reviews
Omaha, Nebraska
Level Contributor
199 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

I've been to a lot of state historical museums, but this one has to be one of the best ever. Spread out over three floors, the exhibits are broad in scope, detailed for the brainiacs, immaculately displayed, and appealing to all ages. They even have a hands-on area for children. Free parking garage across the street -- talk about a... More 

Thank lheadley
Level Contributor
42 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

If you want to learn about Iowa and understand why it is such a great place, you need to visit the Historical Museum.

Thank jlsixtyeight
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Went into the building simply to use the washroom and warm up as it was cold outside. What I saw took me by surprise. One room led to another to another and was rich with historical information. What I intended to be a quick 10 minute stop turned into an hour and a half of historian knowledge.

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Sandpoint, Idaho
Level Contributor
93 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 weeks ago

Very cool historical walk through Iowa. Amazing theater with excellent acoustics. Cool little cafe perched up top where I'm told they hold a concert series in the summer.

Thank dawnya
Altoona, Iowa
Level Contributor
111 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2017

I always enjoy going inside this building and walking up the stairs to the different levels to look out into the big open lobby. The displays change frequently. The historical items are very interesting and well preserved. The display cards explain the exhibits. There is also a very good cafe up on the top floor. The cafe has outside seating... More 

Thank david_hance_iowa
Waterloo, Iowa
Level Contributor
79 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 November 2016

This museum is in the shadows of the Iowa state capitol building. If you visit there you must walk the short distance to this museum. The first thing you will see is the skeleton of a wooly mammoth, who says Iowa only has pigs and cows? Many fine displays are here but the favorite of most will be Iowa on... More 

1 Thank dennis k
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 November 2016

Our Iowa Family LOVED this stop! Kudos Jess Rundlett for meeting us & her fantastic recommendations!

Thank Stephanie S
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 October 2016

The State Historical Museum on the East Side of the Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines is easily accessible and fun to visit. The exhibits are changed on a regular basis and the whole family enjoys going to see what has changed every few weeks. There are performances by people from the community who portray historical figures and explain... More 

Thank Trvl4vr
Flint, Michigan
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 October 2016

This was the last museum we visited on our return home after a 9-day bus trip to Mt. Rushmore. I would have thought everyone would have been tired of museums by this time, but we ALL so enjoyed visiting this museum. I was most impressed with the Mammoths display.....it was awesome! The Civil War exhibit was most impressive. Everyone said... More 

Thank DianeDemersCASC
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level Contributor
845 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 October 2016 via mobile

Well laid out and engaging collection covering many aspects of state history. Personally enjoyed section on films made in Iowa. 4 star museum, but extra star for the great building and for the museum charging nothing.

Thank BatGuano30

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?